Eurovision 2015: you win some, you lose some

The Eurovision 2015 semifinals have been held and what’s the news for my Romance language favourites?

GOOD NEWS: In semi-final one, Romania’s Voltaj got the nod to appear in the final. Here is their semifinal appearance. This song gives me goosebumps.

Great too, to see Razvan Schinteie, the boy who stars in the short film screened behind Voltaj, waving from the audience at the end. Good to see he made it safe and sound to Vienna! (In the film, he sets off on a little boat by himself going up the Danube in search of his “lost” parents, despite not knowing their address – more about that story here).

BAD NEWS: In semi-final two poor old Portugal got dumped again; pity – Leonor Andrade sang more powerfully than I expected compared to the recorded version, and unlike some Portuguese entries in previous years, I like this song. And good on Portugal for having the guts to sing in the native language.

The final will be a marathon with 27 countries participating, including Australia! How will Romance language contenders France, Spain and Italy fare?

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Songs for mothers (on Mother’s Day). Part 2: Romanian and English

The previous Mother’s Day post featured songs in Portuguese that paid homage mostly to absent (deceased or otherwise) mothers. Here is one in Romanian, Mama, that’s more cheerful and the mothers are definitely present. I love the accordion in this and the little bit that I can only describe as the “twirly whirly snake charmer woodwind sound” (!). You’ll also a snatch of a famous classical tune, though I can’t for the life of me think what it is, help!. The singers involved are F.Charm and Elena Gheorghe (the latter has featured regularly on this blog). This song was released earlier this year, in time for Mother’s Day in Romania which is in early March.

Here is a live studio performance of the song. It’s good too but unfortunately the accordionist and the snake charmer bits are missing! At the beginning the radio announcer basically says, “Ladies and gentlemen, good morning, F. Charm and Elena Gheorghe are here …”

Here are the lyrics from the http://www.versuri.ro/ website. Paste them into a translator and you’ll get the drift…

Elena Gheorghe:
Mama inca nu ti-am spus,
Ca nimic nu-i mai presus,
Decat insemni tu pentru mine,
Ma cuprinde teama!
Teama c-ai sa pleci, pe meleaguri gri si reci
De langa mine

F. Charm:
Cei mai sinceri ochi si-o fata prea blanda
Palmele ridate, batute de-atata munca
Nu ti-am spus-o mama, dar in inima ta stii
Esti cel mai bun exemplu cand voi avea copii
Prea multi oameni au batut la usa sufletului meu
Dar numai mama a ramas atunci cand mi-a fost mai greu
Am vazut barbati, femei, ce se mananca-ntre ei
Vocea ta imi repeta: mama tu nu fi ca ei!

F. Charm:
Nu-i deloc usor,
Mi-e frica de gandul c-odata tu nu vei mai fi!
Anii trec in zbor,
O viata n-ajunge-i prea scurta sa-ti pot multumi!

F. Charm & Elena Gheorghe:
Si se-ntreaba ce-o mai fi cu mine,
N-am sunat-o de cateva zile,
Nu-ti fa griji inca sunt bine,
Am sa ma intorc acasa si-o sa fii mandra de mine mama!

Elena Gheorghe:
Mama inca nu ti-am spus,
Ca nimic nu-i mai presus,
Decat insemni tu pentru mine,
Ma cuprinde teama!
Teama c-ai sa pleci, pe meleaguri gri si reci
De langa mine

Elena Gheorghe:
Mama!
Esti un magic tablou,
Un cuvant cu ecou,
Cel mai mare cadou,
Te port in sufletul meu!

F. Charm:
Trec si saptamani cand uit sa sun,
Grijile pe primul loc le pun
Dar ai o inima atat de mare
Si ma-ntelegi fara suparare
Dar cand bat la usa casei tale,
Imi deschizi, pe fata ta e soare,
Imi pui tot ce ai mai bun pe masa,
Copilul tau e din nou acasa

F. Charm:
Nu-i deloc usor,
Mi-e frica de gandul c-odata tu nu vei mai fi!
Anii trec in zbor,
O viata n-ajunge-i prea scurta sa-ti pot multumi!

Elena Gheorghe:
Mama inca nu ti-am spus,
Ca nimic nu-i mai presus,
Decat insemni tu pentru mine,
Ma cuprinde teama!
Teama c-ai sa pleci, pe meleaguri gri si reci
De langa mïne.

The earliest memory I have of a tribute song to mothers was 12-year old Neil Reid‘s Mother of Mine, released in 1972, which was round about the time I first started paying attention to the music charts. There is an interesting background story to it, here. The top clip is of a TV performance, but for better sound quality go to the clip underneath.

Songs for mothers (on Mother’s Day) Part 1: Portuguese

april-723028_1280The second Sunday in May is Mother’s Day in Australia and also, according to this website, in the following countries: Anguilla, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Curaçao, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

In Portugal, Spain and Mozambique, however, it is celebrated a week earlier on the first Sunday in May. In a number of Eastern European and the “-stan” countries it is celebrated on March 8; in Britain and Ireland on the fourth Sunday in Lent; and in France on the last Sunday of May or the first Sunday of June depending if it’s Pentecost, according to Wikipedia.

In the advertising for it on television we live in a perfect world of happy families and living mothers. The reality, of course, is quite different, and the loss of a parent requires a certain courage that often goes unacknowledged.

It might not be “cool”, I suppose for a male singer to pay homage in song to his mother, but the Portuguese don’t seem to have any qualms about it. Here is one by Luis Filipe Reis that I like (I saw him live in Sydney a few years ago). It’s called Minha Santa Mãemãe being the word for mother, minha being the possessive pronoun, and santa being the feminine form of saint/saintly. An important word of endearment you will hear in the chorus is querida (dear), as in minha mãe querida. The video looks very old but the sound quality is good.

Now it’s Jorge Ferreira‘s turn: I like the wrinkled faces of the elderly mum’s in this video. That generation in Portugal had a hard life: you can see strength in them but also a certain brittleness.

A number of male fado singers have also recorded a song based on the poem Mãe by Miguel Torga. One of the most impressive versions is by Frei Hermano da Câmara (a Benedictine monk now in his 80s)

Some of Torga’s poetry, including Mãecan be found here.

Now a younger generation seems to be getting in on the act. I don’t know anything about Puto Pika and the singers involved and hope the rap lyrics are decent. The piano bits are! (Puto can be a vulgar word in Portuguese and Spanish).